Some eight years after it was first tabled in the Knesset by MK Amir Peretz, the Manpower Companies Law will come into effect today, immediately altering the status of an estimated 100,000 workers.
The Employment of Workers by Manpower Companies Law, introduced in the Knesset when Peretz was chairman of the Histadrut, determines that manpower company workers would become regular employees of their actual workplaces after nine months on the job.
"We are talking about one of the most important social reforms in Israel, one that will make a group of workers who are now classified as second-class into a regular part of the work force," Peretz said.
"We have been trying to pass this law for quite some time... there is no question that this year (2008) we will be living in a different social reality as this law gives us cause to hope that 2008 will be a more just and righteous year."
Ofer Eini, current chairman of the Histadrut Labor Organization, praised the passing of the law, although he was critical that the government did not include all workers in the bill.
"The Histadrut has been working hard to ensure that the bill included all workers, including those in the security and cleaning sectors, however, I am disappointed that these workers were not written into the bill and it tells me that the government is not really ready to take upon itself the care of all of the country's workers," Eini said.
Eini added that despite certain workers not being included in the bill, he will work hard to find an "alternative effective arrangement" to help those workers improve their respective working conditions.
The agreement also states that the employees will be eligible for employer contributions to a pension plan after nine consecutive months of work.
Calls to Manpower Israel and Ortal Manpower Services seeking reaction to the legislation were not returned by press time.